I’ll usually catch a Lyft to take a ten-minute ride downtown for a dinner during my week. It’s nothing fancy, just a nice casual dinner during my mid-week to unwind a bit but also catch the vibe and energy of downtown. It’s become one of my favorite things to do, and catching a Lyft to and back home is a way for me to relax while not having to put up with the drive and finding parking.

This past week I requested a Lyft and gentlemen from the Middle East picks me up. I normally sit in the back when catching a Lyft and did so this time as well. Again, just as a way for me not to deal with traffic, I find if I sit in the front that I’m still engaged with it. As I step inside the back seat of his extended cab Tacoma, I see there’s a leather bag with compartments hanging on both of his fronts seats. Each of these compartments is filled with items that a back-seat passenger can help him/herself with: hand sanitizer, a small bottled water, and napkins. There’s also a message requesting a 5-Star Review and thanking us for riding with him. Interesting.

We strike up a conversation. He drives for Lyft 3 times a week, on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and, in his words, “kills it for three those days”. He goes for all the bonuses and it was very apparent he took his job very seriously. I inquire about his accent and find out he’s from Iraq and served for both the Iraqi and US military. And wow, this guy’s energy is off the charts! What made him even more inspiring, he lives 90 minutes away, so he drives 90 to town, then Lyfts for 8 hours, then 90 minutes BACK home each of those three days he works! This guy is the very definition of “hustle!”

Now in this brief conversation with him, we can assume he’s probably drawing a military retirement and probably works in his hometown a few days as well. Maybe a little of it was his life in Iraq before coming to the states, but what is it about this guy that drives him (no pun intended) towards more success?

What’s more interesting, to me anyway, is why more of us here in the US take the opportunities we have for granted. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here, but it seems like those who have immigrated here from other parts of the world realize those opportunities and go after them a bit more. While expanding my own network the last couple of years, I’ve met several entrepreneurs who were born elsewhere and are very successful here in the US. What is it about our culture and environment that dampens our enthusiasm to work hard and go after our dreams?

After being dropped off by this gentlemen to my destination that evening, he left me wondering how I compare with his energy and drive. Honestly, as driven and focused as I am, I think this guy had me beat. I took this encounter with him as a sign that I can do more, even though I think I’m doing a lot now. I think now that I can pay even more attention to details and push myself even more now. It was probably the best $8.00 invested in a Lyft ride I’ll ever take.